Saturday, August 29, 2015

Past the mid-point!

We have hit the ½ way point of our mission.  Time is moving along. We have enjoyed the work in Self-Reliance and the success of many members is inspiring.  Brother Davis who was visiting last week from SLC reminded us that Self-Reliance is “the way for members to live the gospel in real and practical ways.”  The groups that meet to learn how to grow their business, get a job or get a better education are just tools to help them.  The real blessings come when they exercise faith, are obedient, and preserve to the gospel truths. This initiative to help the members and non-members (we have had several graduate from groups) create good habits will help them temporally but, more important, spiritually.  People of all ages are improving their lives.  That is what is giving us the most joy in this service.

A few Saturdays ago, we visited the ruins of Tula, just about an hour outside Mexico City.  We went with the Stevens and met up with 3 other couples (they are Mission Presidents in Mexico City).  They are relatively small ruins and have the big tall columns, which you have probably seen in pictures.  The tall columns are on top of one of the pyramids, but were originally found down in the main plaza, a sort of “gathering place” at the foot of the temples/pyramids. These ruins are from about 700 AD – 1150 AD when Tula was the capital of the Toltec Empire during its most active period.  It was a nice little flat walk from the parking lot to the ruins, so it was doable.  We even climbed up the pyramids, which aren’t too tall, just quite steep.  Craig needed assistance, of course, but we have good friends who are always willing to provide that.assistance. Here is a little trivia for you from what we have learned so far in Mexico as we have visited several ruins with pyramids. In Mexico they were built, sometimes generation building on top of generation, as places of worship (in the flat areas on top). None are of the size of the pyramids in Egypt, at all, and of course, the Egyptian pyramids were built as tombs for the pharaohs. 

Speaking of temples, only this time modern one, the Mexico City Mormon temple renovations have been completed and so this past weekend we attended the open house, which is still on-going. It was a nice experience.  We had our taxi driver with us and he was very interested, so we took him on the tour with us. At the end, he filled out an investigator card and will listen to the message of the missionaries, who will call him.  He wants to take his family to see it.  Mid-September is the rededication of the temple. After that we will be able to attend once in a while.  It is at least an hour drive from where we live and serve, sometimes more depending on traffic (which is the 2nd worse in the world in Mexico City, according to Forbes), so we will have to plan trips to go. Being out at night isn’t what we want to be doing very often, so we will likely plan to attend the temple on a day when we can do it in the afternoon instead of being at the office. It makes us think about how close St. George Temple is to our house (2 miles), which is so convenient when we are back home. 

Now today, Saturday, August 29, 2015. This morning, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, who is here in Mexico doing several things, at present, presided at a grand meeting of all the missionaries in the Mexico City West Mission, which is the mission we technically are part of. It was at one of the Stake Centers that are in the mission. So, we were invited to be there with all the Elder and Sister missionaries. It was a very nice experience, which started with taking a picture of us all, using the stage in the recreation room and floor in front of it. That picture will come later, as we do not as yet have the copy. Then we all met in the chapel for a spiritual meeting. It was a special experience and one we enjoyed greatly. I am certain the young missionaries will never forget it. Several leaders and their wives briefly spoke, then Elder Christofferson. He was pretty informal, said a few humorous things, and also had a question and answer session for a bit. He left a very nice spirit with all, and bore a strong testimony of the Savior and that he leads the church “actively”, in his words. Oh, between the photo and the beginning of the meeting, we all the chance to file past and meet Elder Christofferson and his wife. Both of them speak Spanish. She was on a mission somewhere in Mexico and he was a missionary in Argentina, then later when he was a Seventy, they were here in Mexico as an Area President. This was something like 20 years ago, apparently. Anyway, both of them being able to speak in Spanish was a great thing for the missionaries, we think. No translators were needed, which is always nice.

We appreciate all of you for all your prayers and support. Miss you all!  Craig and Bonnie
At Temple exit with our driver friend after Open House tour.
The next 5 photos are at Tula.
This photo is of the three Mission Presidents and their wives.

 Bonnie on the Plaza
 Craig on the Plaza in front of a pyramid.
 On top of the main Pyramid with huge monoliths behind
 The plaza from on top of Main Pyramid.